One year on

I left England a year ago today and I could never have imagined what that year would bring.

It was a year ago that I was in Heathrow airport saying goodbye to my family. A year ago that I set on an adventure with my best friend not knowing where it would lead us. It was a year ago that I boarded a flight to Australia that little did I know it, would change me forever.

The past year has been exhilarating, challenging, eventful and more often than not, unplanned but I wouldn’t change a single moment of it. Its crazy to think just how much I’ve been through in the past year, the places I’ve called home, the friends I’ve made, the love that’s grown and the memories made. When we left home we had a plan, we said to each other we would stay in Aus for six months then go from there. I never would have imagined that a year on, here I still am applying for my second year visa ready to roll out another year down under. I mean, when I left home I promised my granddad I would be back by April 26th certain that this was a short term, 6 month break from reality. But the truth is, this has become my reality and I honestly cannot imagine it being any other way.

For those that still think I’m travelling, I’m not anymore, and while that is sad in a way, I’ve come to realise its just part of the travelling experience. I’ve travelled Australia, seen everything I wanted to see and much more. I drunkenly made my way down the East Coast with two great friends, saw the wonders of the Whitsundays, the reckless driving of Frazer Island, the terrible surfing at Agnes Waters, the incredibly beautiful coral of the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve wondered past the graffiti covered walls of Melbourne, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, watched a show at the Opera House, and seen Sydney’s incredible New Year firework display. I saw my very first waterfall in Tasmania, experienced all seasons in one day in fact while there. I’ve danced on a beach surrounded by nothing but stars and penguins. I’ve cruised along the Great Ocean Road, taken a stroll along the waters edge at Cape Tribulation, flown a plane over the pink lakes in Adelaide. I’ve held a koala, fed kangaroos, eaten kangaroo, seen a crocodile, seen snakes, seen plenty of spiders, and even a few hundred frogs. I’ve slept in a room with 12 bunk beds, I’ve slept in a tent on an island, I’ve swam in countless beaches, got sunburnt too many times to count, and met so many people along the way, and that’s just the start. In my first four months of being in Australia I had ticked off all the things I wanted to do, without even knowing just how much else I had achieved in that time. All the time whilst with my best friend from home, and I wouldn’t change a thing. While being in Australia might not have worked out for the both of us, I am so glad I got to share all of these incredible memories with her, there’s no one else I would’ve have wanted to experience it with more than her.

No one can live the travelling life forever, we have to work for what we want in order to make in worthwhile and man did I work. Tully. I don’t know where to begin. It truly was a life changing experience but you know what, in a weird and twisted way, I’d do it all over again. The job itself is incomparable to anything I have ever done before. I had seen, cut, sorted and packed thousands of bananas in just a matter of months, experienced what excruciating backache actually feels like, but then I also spent my time being surrounded by a group of incredible people. My time in Tully was split in two. The first round, I absolutely loved it. The people were incredible and I’m so glad I got to spend my time in Tully with them. When I came back the second time after the tv show, as always everyone had moved on and it’s hard not to miss the people you grew so close to the months before. That’s when I realised one of the hardest parts of travelling; you never quite know when someone is going to leave you. You always know that you’re going different ways, but the hardest part to get around is you might never see them again. During my first few months in Tully I made some friends for life and while we may not see each other again, I can guarantee I will never forget the times we spent together.

Farm work isn’t easy. Its physically painful and mentally too, but it sure is worthwhile, if not for the people you meet, then you can’t complain about the money. It’s easy to save while working on a farm mostly due to there not being much else to spend your money on. Which is where Bali came into play. I had an incredible time in Bali – I mean what’s not to love, 5 star hotels, beautiful beaches, mountain top sunrises, monkeys… everywhere, incredible art and history, it truly is a great place to go. Besides the worlds worst ever food poisoning, I loved every minute of Bali and it gave me a desire to see more of the world and other cultures. We spent our time white water rafting, snorkelling, swimming with turtles, visiting temples, climbing mountains, being climbed on by monkeys, and I’d do anything to experience it all over again, but as I said, we have to work for what we want. Which brings me to now.

I’m back in Sydney, working full time and while I never really imagined it happening I’m so glad to be where I am right now. Sydney is an incredible city, I mean just this weekend we decided to go whale watching for the day – not something you could do back home. But not only that, there are hundreds of beautiful beaches surrounding the city, incredible parks to visit, a constant supply of delicious food and non-stop events. Each day I fall in love with Sydney a little bit more. My heart was always set on living in Melbourne, but you know what (don’t tell anyone) but I’m starting to love Sydney a little bit more! I never expected I would end up living in Sydney when I left home, but then again I never expected to work on a banana farm or see a whale, or be climbed on my a monkey, so I guess its safe to say have no expectations when you leave home as every day there is something that takes you by surprise.

Leaving home is never going to be easy, moving to the other side of the world even less so, but providing you take each day as it comes, expect nothing and be surprised by the little things, it truly is a remarkable experience and one I would definitely recommend. I’m so different to when I left home, due to both the experience itself and the people I’ve surrounded myself with. I left home with my best friend and I will be leaving with another. Travelling brings so many different people into your life, some of which you may only know for a day, others a lifetime and it’s up to you what you do with that. Mikey has had such a huge impact on me, my life and my travels the past 10 months but that is what has made the experience for me. I’ve gone through so much with him, seen so many wonders with him by my side and I am so glad that we were brought together. I never thought I would make such an incredible friend while travelling, and to be honest, he’s probably the greatest friend I’ve ever had. Its crazy how you can know someone for just a few hours but they can have more of an impact on your life than someone you’ve known for years. It’s safe to say he has had a huge impact on me and I can no longer imagine my life without him. But as with everyone travelling, there comes a time when we have to move onto the next part. My past year in Australia has been incredible and I honestly believe that is down to him. He’s been there for me through everything, so many of my favourite memories involve him and it will be hard when he leaves in February, but I guess that’s just a part of travelling. Like I said, it’s not all easy. It can feel lonely sometimes, daunting, or just tiring but in the long run it’s all worthwhile. You see so many things you could never dream of seeing, meet so many people that will change your life on a daily basis, learn so much about yourself that each day you feel a little more like you. Leaving home is hard; moving to the other side even harder, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

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